It’s rare in WWE that we get cross-brand matches, which can be both a positive and a negative. It’s good because WWE don’t over-dilute the notion of having the separated brands clash once in a while. It makes any such occasion feel special or important. I’ve always been a fan of this, especially when such matches are limited to the traditional big four PPVs like Survivor Series, Summerslam, the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania. The negative aspects are that such cross-branding could take away from important story-lines, feuds or title chases that are ongoing in each respective show.
This week, WWE pretty much confirmed that they’re going to give us a cross-brand match. Is it AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins? Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens? Perhaps Natalya vs Mickie James? No, we’re going to be ‘enjoying’ Brock Lesnar vs Jinder Mahal. I’m going to be straight with you all here; I hate this match-up. I’m not looking forward to it at all and I’m dreading watching it. I’ll still watch, although I don’t have high hopes it’ll be a classic. Look, I don’t want to dump on either man competing in the match, but it doesn’t scream ‘main event’ for me at all. Let me explain:
Jinder hasn’t given any indication he can win – It doesn’t take a genius to figure that Jinder Mahal hasn’t been setting the world alight as Smackdown Heavyweight Champion. He’s had minimal feuds with anyone of note and his last dalliance with Shinsuke Nakamura was a damp squib and didn’t hit the heights many of us hoped for. I don’t blame Jinder for all of that, but he can only do what he’s told to, and without a variety of decent opposition and decisive wins, his credibility as a tough, fighting champion is somewhat diminished in our eyes. To think he can somehow turn it on and deliver an epic against Brock is pure fantasy.
Brock is a monster – Some nicknames in WWE are a bit over the top or cringe-worthy, but ‘The Beast Incarnate’ as Paul Hayman tells us, is quite apt for Brock. The guy is legit tough and dominating in the ring. Since he’s returned to WWE, he’s destroyed – and I really emphasize that term in relation to his matches – Goldberg, Kevin Owens, John Cena, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman (perhaps Strowman did well, but in the end succumbed to Brock’s power in a lackluster finish). To even imagine Jinder Mahal is going to last more than a couple of minutes against Brock is wishful thinking. He will be crushed.
The match will have interference – For Jinder to last more than a couple of minutes in this showdown, he’ll have to do one of two things; avoid Brock’s clutches or have the Singh Brothers help him out. Seeing as Randy Orton made short work of the Singhs when they interfered in one of his matches, one would imagine they’d be swatted aside with ease by Brock. A straight one on one match-up, especially if Jinder goes in full steam, will result in a beat down that could beat the time set in Lesnar’s encounter with Goldberg at Survivor Series. The only option to get either longevity or a reaction out of this match is to have some interference in some way. Something to drag out the time and give fans a main event worth paying for.
It does nothing for either title picture – This is by far my biggest gripe with this match-up. For the last couple of weeks there’s been little, if any, movement on either heavyweight title on Raw or Smackdown, and now we know why. There’s no number one contenders, no feuds or no challenges made to either champion. To have Jinder/Brock main event a notable PPV like TLC, is a waste. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a ladder match for one of the belts – something that would go against Brock if he were up against a quicker, more nimble opponent. WWE is basically putting both titles (THE Titles of each brand) on hold while we build up to this match. It’s a waste.
It’s a missed opportunity – I’d be on board with this type of match-up if one thing in WWE were different; that the Money in the Bank briefcase was still active. If Baron Corbin was still the holder, you can imagine him to be involved at some point to swoop – especially considering the Smackdown champion would be going against one of the most dominant wrestlers in WWE history. I’d be invested in that idea. Even more so if the MITB holder could cash in one either show – can you imagine the anticipation for that possibility? How much more invested would you be if the MITB holder was still active and this match was announced? It would guarantee a ‘what if’ factor. Whether you think Corbin would be a better option as champion over Jinder or Brock is up to you.
In closing I’m really not looking forward to this match. I don’t hate either participant, because they’re just doing what they’re told. I feel for Jinder Mahal in all honesty. The guy hasn’t set the world alight with his Nakamura feud or in his run as Heavyweight Champion, so to have him face Brock can’t be beneficial to him. Had he been dominating the blue brand week in week out with incredible, show-stopping matches, I’d have more hope, but in all honesty, I don’t. As for Brock, he had a decent match with the mega-over Braun Strowman recently and that match didn’t harm either man’s reputation. To face Jinder after the powerful Strowman must look like an easy challenge and I fully expect Brock to chew up Mahal before spitting him out. Such a scenario wouldn’t elevate Lesnar in my eyes, but would only put down the Smackdown brand by having their top guy and champion look like a loser who can’t go a couple of minutes with the Raw champion. I honestly hope I’m wrong and whatever happens surprises me and manages to benefit both the participants and both brands. I won’t hold my breath.
What do you think? Are you excited for this match? Can Jinder Mahal defeat the beast? What does it do for the titles? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.
Next week I’ll be attending a Hardcore Halloween event in Liverpool featuring Nick Aldis (Magnus), Daivari, Bram, Victoria and the hardcore legend himself, Tommy Dreamer. I’m stoked to be going and will tell you all about it right here, on TJRWrestling.net. *Strikes Mick Foley pose with cheesy grin and thumbs up.*